Here is the text of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address at the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya divas 2017 held in Bangalore on sunday, Jan. 8, 2017.
“Excellencies and friends,
To begin with, let me offer our deepest condolences to the people and government of Portugal on the passing away of Shri Mario Soares, former President, Prime Minister, a great leader of Portugal and a global states-man. He was the architect of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Portugal. We stand with Portugal in full support in this hour of grief.
Your Excellency, the Vice President of Suriname, Shri Michael Ashwin Adhin,
Your Excellency the Prime Minister of Portugal, Dr. Antonio Costa,
Shri Vaju Bhai wala, Governor of Karnaktaka
Shri Siddaramaiah ji, Chief Minister of Karnataka
Dignitaries from India and Abroad,
And the most important of all, the global family of overseas Indians
It is a great pleasure for me to welcome all of you on this 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas. Thousands of you have travelled from far-off lands to join us here today. Millions more/ are connected through digital platforms.
This day is a celebration to mark the return to India of one of the greatest Pravasis- Mahatma Gandhi
एक ऐसा पर्व है जिस में एक प्रकार से host भी आप है, तथा guest भी आप ही हैं यह पर्व एक राष्ट्र का उसकी विदेश में रहने वाली संतान से मिलन का पर्व है | इस event की असली पहचान और शान आप है | आप का इस पर्व में सम्मिलित होना हमारे लिए बहुत गर्व की बात है| आप सब का तहे दिल से स्वागत है |
We are celebrating this event in the beautiful city of Bengaluru. I wish to thank the Chief Minister, Siddharamaih ji, and his entire government for his assistance and efforts in organizing this event/ and making it a big success.
It is my particular pleasure to welcome Excellency the Prime Minister of Portugal, the Vice President of Suriname, the honourable Ministers from Malaysia and Mauritius to the event.
Their achievements, the name they have earned in their own societies and globally, are a great inspiration for all of us.
It also reflects the success, glory and enterprise of Indian diaspora the world over.
There are over 30 million Overseas Indians living abroad. Their footprint is all over the world. But, Indians abroad are valued not just for their strength in numbers. They are respected for the contributions they make – to India and to the societies and countries where they live in foreign lands and communities across the globe, irrespective of the path they take, and the goals they pursue, the Indian diaspora represents the best of Indian culture, ethos and values. Their hard-work, discipline, law-abiding and peace loving nature are role models for other immigrant communities abroad.
आप की प्रेरणा कई, उद्देश्य अनेक, मार्ग विभिन्न, मंजिलें तमाम लेकिन भाव एक -भारतीयता। प्रवासी भारतीय जहां रहे उसे कर्मभूमि माना,जहां से आए उसे मर्मभूमि माना। प्रवासी भारतीय जहां रहे वहां का विकास किया और जहां के हैं वहां भी असीम योगदान किया।
Friends, For my government and for me personally, engagement with the overseas Indian community has been a key area of priority. I have met and spoken to hundreds of thousands of our brothers and sisters during my travels abroad – in USA, UK, Australia, South Africa, UAE, Qatar, Singapore, Fiji, China, Japan, South Korea, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Malaysia and other countries.
As a result of our sustained and systematic out-reach, there is new energy, keen desire and strong drive among Indian Diaspora to connect more extensively and deeply with India’s social and economic transformation
The remittance of close to sixty nine billion dollars annually by the overseas Indians makes an invaluable contribution/ to the Indian economy.
प्रवासी भारतीयों में देश के विकास के लिए अदम्य इच्छाशक्ति है; वे देश की प्रगति में एक स्टेकहोल्डर है हमारी विकास यात्रा में आप हमारे एक VALUABLE PARTNER हैं। भारत के BRAIN DRAIN को BRAIN GAIN में बदलने के हमारे प्रयासों में आप सहभागी है।
NRIs and PIOs have made outstanding contributions to their chosen fields.
Among them, there are politicians of stature, scientists of repute, outstanding doctors, brilliant educationists, economists, musicians, famous philanthropists, journalists, bankers, engineers and lawyers. And, sorry, did I mention our well known Information Technology professionals? Tomorrow, 30 overseas Indians will receive from the President, the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards, which recognize contributions made by them/ in various fields, both in India and abroad.
Friends, Irrespective of their background and profession, the welfare and safety of all Indians abroad is our top priority. For this, we are strengthening the entire eco-system of our administrative arrangements. Whether it is on loss of their passports, need for legal advice, medical assistance, shelter, or even transportation of mortal remains to India, I have directed all Indian embassies to be proactive to address problems of Indian nationals abroad.
Our response to the needs of the Indian nationals overseas is defined by Accessibility, sensitivity, speed and promptness. 24 by 7 help-lines by Indian Embassies; ‘Open House’ meetings with Indian nationals; consular camps; twitter seva for passport services; and use of social media platforms for immediate access; are some of the measures that we have put in place to convey a clear message that we are there for you when you need us.
The security of Indian nationals abroad/ is of utmost importance to us. In situations of distress faced by Indian nationals, we have reached out/ to ensure their safety, rescue and repatriation. Our External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj ji, has particularly been proactive and prompt/ in reaching out to distressed Indians abroad using social media.
Under Operation संकट मोचन in July 2016, we evacuated over one hundred and fifty Indian nationals from South Sudan within 48 hours. Prior to that, we evacuated several thousands of our citizens from conflict situations in Yemen in well-coordinated, smooth and swift operations. In the last two years – 2014-2016, we facilitated the repatriation of over ninety thousand Indian nationals from nearly 54 countries. Through the Indian Community Welfare Fund/ we have assisted more than eighty thousand Indian nationals abroad/ who were in contingency situations.
Our aim is/ that for every Indian abroad, home should never be far away. For those workers who seek economic opportunities abroad, our effort is to provide maximum facilitation and ensure least inconvenience. Our motto is: “सुरक्षित जाएँ, प्रशिक्षित जाएँ”. For this, we have streamlined our systems and taken several measures to safeguard emigration of Indian workers. About six lakh emigrants have been granted Emigration Clearance online for overseas employment/ through registered recruitment agents. Online registration of foreign employers on e-Migrate portal has been made mandatory.
And, the grievances, complaints and petitions of the Indian migrant workers continue to be addressed online through e-Migrate and MADAD platforms. We are also taking strict action against illegal recruitment agents in India. Prosecution sanctions by CBI or State Police against illegal agents; and increase in the amount of Bank Guarantee deposited by the recruiting agents from Rs.20 lakhs to Rs.50 lakhs; are some of the steps in this direction. To ensure/ that the migrating Indian workers enjoy better economic opportunities, we will shortly launch a skill development program – the Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana targeted at Indian youth who seek overseas employment.
Friends. We have a special bond with the Indian Diaspora which is living in the Girmitiya countries – who are deeply and emotionally attached with their place of origin. We are aware of difficulties faced by Persons of Indian Origin/ from these countries in obtaining an OCI Card if they moved abroad four or five generations ago. We acknowledge their concerns and have made efforts/ to address these issues.
I am glad to announce that starting with Mauritius, we are working to put in place new procedures and documentation requirements so that the descendants of Girmitiyas from this country could become eligible for OCI Cards. We remain committed/ to addressing similar difficulties of PIOs in Fiji, Reunion Islands, Suriname, Guyana and other Caribbean States.
Like my request at the last Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, I would again encourage all PIO Card holders to convert their PIO Cards to OCI Cards. मुझे पता है, कि आप काफी व्यस्त रहते है.इसी को देखते हुए,I am happy to announce that we have extended the deadline for such conversion from 31 December 2016, until June 30, 2017 without any penalty. From first of January this year, beginning with airports in Delhi and Bengaluru, we have also set up special counters at immigration points in our airports for OCI Card holders.
Friends, Today, there are about 7 Lakh Indian students/ pursuing academic programs abroad. मुझे भली भाति ज्ञात है/ कि विदेश मे रह रहा हर भारतीय,,भारत की प्रगति से जुड़ने के लिए आतुर है | उनका विज्ञान और भारत के ज्ञान का मिलन. भारत को आर्थिक प्रगति को असीम उचाईयो पर ले जायेगा | मेरा सदैव यह प्रयास और विश्वास रहा है कि सक्षम तथा successful प्रवासियो को/ भारत की विकास गाथा से जुड़ने का सम्पूर्ण मौका मिलना चाहिए | खास तौर से विज्ञान तथा तकनीकी क्षेत्रो मे |
इसके लिए हमने कई कदम उठाये है. One of them is that the Department of Science and Technology is launching Visiting Adjunct Joint Research Faculty or VAJRA scheme which enables NRIs and overseas scientific community to participate and contribute to research and development in India. Under the scheme an overseas Indian can work for one to three months in an institution in India. And, that too, at good terms. किन्तु सब से महत्पूर्ण है कि प्रवासी भारतीय इसके द्वारा देश की प्रगति का एक अहम् हिस्सा बन सकेगे |
Friends, It is my firm belief that connect between India and over-seas Indians should be sustained and enriching for both. To meet this goal, in October last year,महात्मा गाँधी की जन्म दिवस पर, I had the honour of inaugurating the Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in New Delhi. This Kendra is dedicated to the over-seas Indian community. We want it to become a symbol of the global migration, experiences, struggles, achievements and aspirations of the Indian Diaspora . I am confident/ that the Kendra will become another important platform for crystallizing ongoing efforts of the government to redefine its engagement/ with the over-seas Indian community.
Friends, हमारे प्रवासी भारतीय कई पीढ़ीयो से विदेशो में है. हर पीढ़ी के अनुभव ने भारत को और सक्षम बनाया है. जैसे नए पौधों पर हमारे भीतर अलग से एक स्नेह उभर आता है, उसी तरह विदेश में रह युवा प्रवासी भारतीय भी हमारे लिए विशेष हैं।हम प्रवासी भारतीयों की युवा पीढ़ीयो से, young Pravasis से करीबी और मज़बूत संपर्क रखना चाहेगे. To provide the young Indian-origin youth an opportunity to visit their motherland and reconnect with their Indian roots, culture, and heritage– we have expanded the Government’s Know India Program, under which for the first time, six groups of young over-seas Indians are visiting India this year.
I am very happy to know/ that 160 of these young over-seas Indians are here today to participate in the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. A special welcome to the young Pravasis– I hope that on returning to your respective countries, you will remain connected with us, wherever you are, and visit India again. Last year, the first edition of the online quiz for young
overseas Indians called “Bharat ko Jaano” saw participation of more than 5000 young NRIs and PIOs. In the second edition this year, I hope to see the participation of at least fifty thousand young overseas Indians.
Friends, आज भारत एक नयी प्रगतिशील दिशा की और अग्रसर है | ऐसी प्रगति जो न केवल आर्थिक है अपितु सामाजिक, राजनैतिक, और शासिकिय है.आर्थिक क्षेत्र में, PIOs तथा NRIs के लिए FDI norms पूरी तरह से liberalized है. Investments by PIOs on non-repatriation basis; and by companies, trusts and partnerships owned by them, are now deemed to be domestic investment at par with investments made by resident Indians. हमारे कई ऐसा programs है,जैसे Swachh Bharat Mission, Digital India, Make in India and Start-up India,
जिन से प्रवासी भारतीय/ भारत के सामान्य व्यक्ति के प्रगति से सीधा जुड़ सकते है. There are some amongst you who would like to contribute in business and investments. Others may feel more comfortable supporting through contributions made to Swachh Bharat, Namami Gange and others.
Some others may feel motivated to spare their valuable time and effort in volunteering in India helping the under-privileged or contributing to capacity building programs in various sectors.
We welcome all your efforts that seek to strengthen India’s partnership with the over-seas Indian community. I also invite you to visit the exhibition in the PBD Convention which gives you a glimpse of some of the flagship programs that we have been implementing/ and see how you can partner with us.
Friends, हमने काले धन के विरुद्ध एक बीड़ा उठाया है. काला धन हमारी राजनीति, देश तथा समाज तथा शासन को धीरे धीरे खोखला कर रहा है. काले धन के कुछ राजनैतिक पुजारी हमारे प्रयासों को जन विरोधी बताते है. काले धन को समाप्त करने में भारत सरकार की नीतियों का जो समर्थन प्रवासी भारतीयों ने किया है उसके लिए मैं उनका अभिनन्दन करता हूँ.
Friends. Finally, I would like to say that as Indians, we have a common heritage that brings us all together. And, no matter where we may be around the globe, it is in that common bond/ that we are strong.
Thank You and Jai Hind.”